As a leader, you have to burn this into the frame of how you think: Culture trumps EVERYTHING! One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is allowing leaders to continue to act in dysfunctional ways in my organization longer than I should have because they were key or high producing leaders. Confronting, transforming and/or ultimately removing these kinds of people is one of the key roles of the leadership chair. So why don’t we do it quickly and readily? A few reasons…
We’re dysfunctional ourselves.
If we’re honest, a lot of our lack diligence with this is our own co-dependency. Many of us are conflict avoidant and the stronger the individual or the higher the stakes, the more avoidant we are. In these cases, we may have to actually deal with US before we deal with THEM!
We minimize the impact.
We often treat high-capacity dysfunctional leaders as irritants that are simply slightly annoying. But they’re not. They’re TOXIC. And they are slowly causing cancer to vital parts of our team and our organization. Want to know the REALLY sick part of this? We, as the leaders, are the ventilators keeping our organizations alive while we let this individual slowly kill it!
We fear the loss.
As a pastor I know that when I remove someone from leadership I stand to lose people from their team and people in the church who love them. Many of these people don’t see the full measure of the dysfunction because they’re not in the office each day. Many of them will never understand and never forgive their removal. The more fearful among us will catastrophize the possible results and it keeps us from pulling the trigger.
We choke on hope.
These people are usually not total jerks or total losers. They are skilled people with horrible people skills who also produce wonderful results in some areas. Some of us see glimpses of redeemable qualities in them and believe that if we just keep working with them, they’ll change. But they don’t. They don’t want to. And why should they? We’ve made it possible for them to remain just the way they are.
The culture of your church or your organization is not the sum of what your team can DO. It is the sum who they ARE. A team of lower-skilled, highly functional individuals will out perform a higher-skilled team with a dysfunctional team member or two causing chaos. Bite the bullet, push through the fear and deal with them. Confront them, change them or remove them. If not, then the problem in your organization is not really THEM…it’s YOU!
Post contributed by Steve Chiles, Senior Pastor of Shartel Church of God, in Oklahoma City, OK. He is a coach and consultant with HGC, as well as, providing leadership with the Network Gathering.